I dream, therefore I am.

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible.
T. E. Lawrence, “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”
British soldier (1888 – 1935)

I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s especially appropriate for recent developments in my life. I haven’t posted to my blog in the last 3 months, and so much has changed since then. Let me give you the highlights:

This Blog
I’ve received lots of notes from people asking if I’m going to finish the investing series I started. I owe my readers an apology. I’ve just been swamped with a bunch of other things, some of which you’ll read about below. I wanted to let people know that not only will I be finishing this series, but I’ll be launching a new project in the next few weeks that the readers of this blog will hopefully find very interesting. It’ll live on a new site of its own and I’ll be releasing details within the next couple weeks, hopefully, so stay tuned. I know you’re probably thinking that I’ll flake on this as well, but the good news is that my time has opened up some. For more, read on…

CNET Networks
As I’ve mentioned before, my day job is an Associate Product Manager at CNET Networks, one of the largest web companies in terms of traffic. I started at CNET in August of 2006 and I’ve really learned a lot there and made some great friends. However, about three weeks ago I started looking around for some contract work, primarily through craigslist.org. After about a week, it was apparent that not only was there enough work for several full-time jobs, I could make 2-3 times as much doing freelance work as I was making at CNET. I managed to hang on for a few more days before I decided that going freelance full-time was the right move and I gave my notice at CNET. My last day was Friday and I am now completely free. I have punched my last clock and done my last 9-5. From where I’m sitting right now, I have a hard time imagining any circumstances under which I would be an employee again, but I’m always open to discussion :-). I already have more than enough work coming my way to stay busy and I now have the flexibility to be able to work from anywhere in the world, at any time that I choose. I’m sitting in a 24-hour starbucks in San Francisco writing this at about 12:30am and it’s comforting to know that I don’t have to get up in the morning unless I want to.

I will say that CNET was an awesome opportunity for me. They gave me a shot when I needed it most and it was a fantastic place to cut my teeth in the web field. I met a lot of very passionate and talented people who inspired me greatly. They offered me a great job before I left, but ultimately, I’m just not an employee. I came to the Bay Area to start a company, not work at one. I don’t want people to think that I’m saying that there’s anything wrong with being an employee or that I didn’t enjoy it. I am fortunate in that I have skills that are in such high demand that I can pay the bills with part-time freelance work and have a lot of time left to focus on projects of my own, some of which I’ll talk about below.

Oh, and my wife quit her job the same day. She’s been working towards it for a lot longer than I have and now we’re both unfettered freelancers, free to travel the world, set our own rules, and take the road less traveled.

BlueSwarm.org
For the last six months or so, I’ve been hard at work with two brilliant and talented partners on a project called BlueSwarm.org. It’s a social network aggregator / lifestreaming / friendstreaming service, which are all fancy ways of saying that it helps you easily keep track of what your friends are doing all over the web and vice versa. Very cool stuff. We launched a private beta of the site on July 7th and have been steadily working on improvements since. Please check it out and request an invite…we hope to be giving out a bunch in the next couple weeks.

Real Estate
As I noted in a post earlier this year, I purchased a single family home with a partner and rehabbed it. We had it on the market for about six months before I finally decided that I’d rather keep it than drop the price any further. I negotiated an agreement to buy out my partner and I now own my 2nd long-term rental property.

Last Wednesday, I was forwarded an email about a sweet little 3/2 condo and managed to put it under contract at a great price within the next 24 hours. The best part is that about 75% of the purchase price is covered by an assumable private note at 6% fixed (!) and the current seller agreed to carry another 15% of the purchase price at 7.5% fixed, leaving me with just 10% to put down and no banks or mortgage companies to hassle with. If you can find a private lender at a good rate, I highly recommend it. We can close any time that works for us, so hopefully in the next couple weeks, I’ll own my third property. The empire grows…

I think that’s pretty much it…I’m also getting my pilot’s license and learning to sail, but so far those haven’t been too time-consuming 🙂

In closing, I would just like to say that I’m overwhelmed by how richly God has blessed my life in just about every way. I’ll be 25 years old in less than a month and the world is stretched out in front of me, filled with endless opportunity. I say this not to brag, but to encourage others to take the road less traveled, to take risks, to discover and follow their passions. I won’t say that it hasn’t been hard at times and sometimes it’s completely overwhelming to have a seemingly endless array of options available, but overall, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Once you taste the freedom, you won’t either.